RAIPUR: The paddy procurement under the new regime of Congress government in Chhattisgarh resumed in full swing with the announcement of steep hike of Rs 2500 per quintal as minimum support price (MSP) on paddy but the farmers in the Maoist-Hit Bastar zone apparently seemed to have lagged way behind compared to those living in other parts of the state.
According to the official inputs acquired from seven naxal-affected districts of Bastar zone, barring Jagdalpur, Kanker and Kondagaon, substantial percentage of registered farmers in the remaining four couldn't take advantage for their paddy on the revised higher MSP, which was Rs 450 more than what the previous BJP government had given during the previous two years.
The existing records in the worst-affected districts of Sukma, Dantewada, Bijapur and Narayanpur revealed the turnout quite low apparently suggesting the prevailing activities in Maoist hotbed and terror as hurdles.
On an average around fifty percent farmers living in hamlets close to the naxal epicentre of the four districts in south Bastar reportedly couldn't access the paddy procurement centres.
The convenor of the Chhattisgarh Pragatisheel Kisan Sangathan, Rajkumar Gupta, during his recent visit to Bastar zone found the farmers awareness continues to be abysmally low on the government schemes including the sharp hike in the MSP.
"What is more regretful is that the local politicians and officials too are least concerned to raise the public awareness. The small farmers are usually found selling their paddy in the local haat bazar (weekly market) at a price as low as Rs 15-16/kg and consequently ends up as losers failing to gain from the government MSP scheme", he said.
From across the state, the government has procured around 81 lakh metric tonnes of paddy from 1 November 2018 to 31 January 2019.
According to one estimate, over 92 per cent of farmers in the state have sold their produce to procurement centres.
However, the figure plunged down to around 72 per cent (average) in the conflict zone of Bastar. This year there has been a record paddy procurement by the state government.
The state cabinet took the decision to write a letter to the Central government to enhance the quantity of rice from 24 to 32 lakh metric tonnes in the Central pool for Chhattisgarh state.